ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

DIGNITARIES OF IRELAND AND JORDAN ADDRESS CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT

DIGNITARIES OF IRELAND AND JORDAN ADDRESS CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT
Also Hears Statements from the President of the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties of the Mine-Ban Convention and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
27 February 2013

The Conference on Disarmament held a plenary meeting this morning and heard addresses from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland and the Minister of Labour of Jordan.  The Conference also heard a statement from the President of the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties of the Mine-Ban Convention and from the Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Eamon Gilmore T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, recalled that the Conference had been unable to perform its role for over 15 years despite pressing challenges.  The message was clear, if the Conference continued to ignore its responsibility to address the disarmament agenda, a way would be found to address it by other means.  It was vital that the entire Non-Proliferation Treaty membership continued to work on delivering the Treaty’s non-proliferation agenda; and it was equally important that nuclear weapon States acknowledged that only they could deliver on its disarmament agenda.  Mr. Gilmore also regretted the postponement of the Helsinki Conference and welcomed Norway’s initiative to host a conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, as it had become clear that the international community would be powerless to respond in any meaningful way to the uniquely destructive power which a nuclear detonation would unleash. 

Nasser Judeh, Minister of Labour of Jordan, expressed regret for the postponement of the Helsinki Conference and confirmed the need to hold such the conference as soon as it was possible and with the participation of all countries in the region.   The historical achievements of the Conference in previous decades, even in a context of world polarisation, justified the hopes that it would be able to bring a rapid and required détente and to enhance international peace and security.  The expansion of its membership could help the Conference become more representative of the interests of all.  Mr. Judeh also reiterated that finding a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital would contribute to the security of the region, and hoped that the Conference would be able to reach consensus and in order to realise its objectives.

Matjaž Kovačič, Permanent Representative of Slovenia and President of the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties of the Mine-Ban Convention, noted that on 1 March, the international community would celebrate the fourteenth anniversary of the entry into force of this landmark humanitarian, disarmament and development instrument.  The anti-landmines movement continued to march closer to its goal but the were still demanding long-term challenges ahead, such as clearing mined areas, destroying all stocks, and providing assistance for victims.  At a time when the Conference had remained in stalemate, real disarmament had proceeded elsewhere.  Mr. Kovačič asked all States to renew their efforts to implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

During the plenary, delegations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States, and the Republic of Korea also took the floor.

Ambassador Sujata Mehta, President of the Conference on Disarmament, indicated that, in order to give delegations the opportunity to share their views, the next plenary meeting of the Conference would be dedicated to nuclear disarmament, without detriment to Member States’ right to address any other subjects as they may wish, in accordance with the rules of procedure.  

The next public plenary of the Conference will be held on Tuesday, 5 March at 10 a.m.

Statements

EAMON GILMORE T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, said that the Conference, which was designed to be the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body, had been unable to perform its role for over 15 years despite pressing challenges.  Last year the General Assembly had expressed very clearly its dissatisfaction with the adoption of three resolutions establishing two new mechanisms in Geneva to facilitate discussions on topics that the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to move forward and deciding that a High Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament should be convened in New York. Ireland had supported all three resulting resolutions believing that they would contribute to global disarmament efforts.  The message was clear, if the Conference continued to ignore its responsibility to address the disarmament agenda, a way would be found to address it by other means.  Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty bargain, nuclear weapon States agreed to disarm and non-nuclear weapon States agreed to forgo the acquisition of these weapons.  It was vital that the entire Non-Proliferation Treaty membership continued to work on delivering the Treaty’s non-proliferation agenda; and it was equally important that nuclear weapon States acknowledged that only they could deliver on its disarmament agenda.  Mr. Gilmore regretted the postponement of the Helsinki Conference and welcomed Norway’s initiative to host a conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, as it had become clear that the international community would be powerless to respond in any meaningful way to the uniquely destructive power which a nuclear detonation would unleash.  Mr. Gilmore also hoped that next month, a robust and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty could be added to the list of arms control success stories.  Finally, the decision of Democratic People's Republic of Korea to test a nuclear device was a challenge to the international community and its Government should realize that in defying Security Council resolutions and ignoring other international commitments, it only isolated itself further from the international community.  The Conference must get back to doing what it was set up to do and resume its role at the centre of global disarmament negotiations.    

NASSER JUDEH, Minister of Labour of Jordan, reiterated Jordan’s confidence in the work of the Presidency to steer the work of the Conference.  The failure in finding a minimum standard of consensus on a programme of work had continued over the years and, despite the gloomy picture, Jordan believed that it was possible to overcome the obstacles through a serious dialogue that took into account the different views and bolstered the interests of the international community.  The historical achievements of the Conference, even in a context of world polarisation, justified the hopes that it would be able to bring a rapid and required détente and to enhance international peace and security.  The expansion of its membership could help the Conference become more representative of the interests of all.  It was not acceptable for the Conference to become a club and to close its door to the majority of countries, given its important task.  Mr. Judeh reiterated Jordan’s support to the proposal of appointing a Special Coordinator tasked to look at the issue of membership expansion.  Jordan remained committed to promoting the principle of security for all through disarmament, in particular, with regards to nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and the world.  Jordan expressed regret for the postponement of the Helsinki Conference and confirmed the need to hold such the conference as soon as it was possible and with the participation of all countries in the region.  Proceeding from the principle of security for all, Jordan called on parties who had refused or were hesitating to participate in this conference to reconsider their position and to consider previous successes related to the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones.  Jordan reiterated that finding a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital would contribute to the security of the region.  Mr. Judeh hoped that the Conference would be able to reach consensus in order to realise its objectives.

Matjaž Kovačič, Permanent Representative of Slovenia and President of the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties of the Mine-Ban Convention, said that on 1 March, the international community would celebrate the fourteenth anniversary of the entry into force of this landmark humanitarian, disarmament and development instrument.  The anti-landmines movement continued to march closer to its goal.  With the accession to the Convention by Poland and Somalia last year, there were now 161 States that had made a solemn commitment to end the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines.  All Member States of the European Union and every State in Sub-Saharan Africa had foresworn the use of an inhumane and indiscriminate weapon that should have no place in modern defence and national security doctrines.  At the twelfth meeting of States Parties, Mr. Kovačič had been pleased to hear that the United States’ landmine policy review was ongoing and that the United States expected to be able to announce a decision soon, and appealed to the United States to conclude its landmine policy review in such a way that would soon be part of this movement.  There were still demanding long-term challenges ahead, such as clearing mined areas, destroying all stocks, and providing assistance for victims.  At the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Congo, Denmark, Cambia, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan and Uganda declared that they had completed clearance of all mined areas under their jurisdiction or control, and there were now 23 States parties that had completed this obligation.  With respect to the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines, it was important to highlight that, at a time when the Conference had remained in stalemate, real disarmament had proceeded elsewhere.  Since the entry into force of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, States parties had destroyed more than 44.5 million stockpiled landmines.  At a time when the minority of States in the Conference had been talking about disarmament, the majority of the world’s States had been actually disarming.  Mr. Kovačič asked all States to renew their efforts to implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea called the attention of the Conference to the intensified United States hostile policy.  The recent nuclear test had been a resolute step for self-defence to cope with United States’ hostile acts of wanton violation against the legitimate right of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to launch satellites for peaceful purposes.  By nature, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had neither a plan to conduct the nuclear test nor need to do so.  The United States, however, had deterred the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from focusing its efforts to develop the economy and improve its people’s living standard under peaceful and stable circumstances.  Such ill intention of the United States had been manifested when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launched satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 in December last year.  The United States had repeatedly abused the authority of the United Nations Security Council while pulling up the Democratic People's Republic of Korea only over its satellite launch.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was compelled to make an important decision under the grim situation, where the United States hostile policy entered a grave phase and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was barred from staging in peace a drive for developing the economy and improving the its people’s living standards.  It was illogical and a trick on the international community to assert that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea posed a “threat to the international peace and security” because it used “ballistic missile” technology as the United States alleged.  The United States had launched most satellites, including military satellites, and most nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles.  The United States should no longer be allowed to seriously infringe upon the independent right of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to use space for peaceful purposes nor should it be allowed to abuse the Security Council as a tool for executing its hostile policy.  The United States, though belated, should choose between two options: to respect the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s right to launch satellites and open a phase of détente and stability or to keep its wrong road leading to the explosive situation by persistently pursuing a hostile policy.  The third nuclear test had been carried out as part of practical countermeasures for defending the country’s sovereignty and security.

United States expressed appreciation for the dignitaries who shared their views with the Conference.   As mentioned by Ambassador Kovačič, the United States was conducting a review and had stressed the importance it attached to the clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war.  And, to this end, the United States had contributed with more than 2 billion dollars to efforts and programmes in close to 90 countries around the world.  Several speakers had also spoken about the Helsinki Conference and expressed deepest admiration for the work done by Ambassador Laajava of Finland and his countless trips to the Middle East, representing Iceland as a co-convenor of the conference.  The United States had addressed the Conference on Disarmament twice with regards to the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and hoped that the record would speak for itself.

Republic of Korea said that the Conference had heard statements form various ministers expressing concerns about the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  While the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had claimed that it wanted to focus on economic development, the Republic of Korea hoped that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would become a responsible member of the international community and fulfil its commitments instead of wasting its resources and turning its back to the international community.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea, responding to the remarks made by the Republic of Korea, stressed that it should be careful about its reckless reactions and provocative moves along with the United States.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea advised that it would be much better for “South Korea” to remain quiet and give more concern to internal affairs, instead of making trouble going around and opening Pandora boxes here and there. 

Republic of Korea called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear plans and to embark on the path to peace, to abide by international norms and to make the right choice. 

Ambassador SUJATA MEHTA of India, President of the Conference on Disarmament, before the conclusion of the meeting, recalled that a number of consultations and discussions had been underway to seek ways of moving the work of the Conference forward.  In this context, in order to give delegations the opportunity to share their views, the next plenary meeting of the Conference would be dedicated to nuclear disarmament, without detriment to Member States’ right to address any other subjects as they may wish, in accordance with the rules of procedure.  Ambassador Mehta hoped that there would be an interest from delegations to elaborate on their views on nuclear disarmament.


For use of the information media; not an official record

DC13/009E